I Was Punished by a Hudson Valley Store’s Dumb Security Policy
I was shopping at the local home improvement store this weekend when I became a victim of their overzealous security policy.
Shoplifting is a big problem at stores throughout the region. Recently, a Hudson Valley man was charged with a felony for allegedly stealing over $1,500 from a local Walmart. As a result, businesses have implemented security policies aimed at stopping thieves with sticky fingers. Unfortunately, one of those policies seems to be a ridiculous overreaction that is only angering loyal customers.
I was at a big-box home improvement store over the weekend to pick up a replacement plastic lawn chair. Our family calls these "disposable chairs" because they're cheaply made and only cost like $25. In the past I was able to load up the lightweight chair in a cart, wheel it to the register and pay. Now, however, the chairs are locked up by a giant security chain.
The decision to lock up these chairs is curious for several reasons. First of all, it would be very difficult to steal one. These big, bulky chairs aren't easily concealed from security cameras or employees manning the front door. You'd have to be pretty sneaky to take one of these chairs and load it into your car without anyone noticing.
Secondly, the flimsy chairs are way cheaper than a lot of other items that are just sitting out in the store's parking lot for any thief to take. Flowers worth just as much as those giant chairs are stacked up with no lock and key. It would be way easier for a criminal to walk away with three or four of these in their cart than a giant red chair. Also, bags of mulch and dirt are piled up in the parking lot, completely hidden from view. Practically anyone could just drive up, throw a dozen or so bags in their trunk and leave without ever being detected. So why are these cheap chairs so precious that they need to be locked up?
What's worse is that the security prison locked around these chairs has made buying them a nightmare. This weekend I had to go and snap a photo of the chair's UPC code and then wait in line for a checkout person to scan my phone. After making the purchase I asked if I should go wait for someone to unlock the chair for me. Nope. Instead, I'd have to go and wait in another line at customer service and ask them to do it.
After patiently waiting on the second line I was told that someone in the back had the key and they would have to be called out front to liberate my cheap plastic chair. I followed their direction and went to stand outside by the chair for someone to come help. No one ever showed up.
After going back inside I was told that the person was on their way, so I went outside again and waited. This time, after another 15 minutes had gone by, I decided to take manners into my own hands. I scaled the mountain of plastic chairs and plucked one out from behind the locked ones, threw it in my car and drove off.
As I made my getaway, annoyed at the store's stupid policy, I suddenly realized no one stopped me from just grabbing the chair and leaving.
Hum, perhaps that's why they're locked up in the first place?